Leash Training a Puppy that Bites the Dog Leash
How to Stop Your Puppy from Biting his Leash when Walking
This is a huge question I get in my local puppy training classes or private puppy lessons. First, it’s a normal puppy behavior. Second, you are not alone! This question has probably come up with every puppy student that I have worked with. Why it’s taken me two decades to write about it, I will never know.
The first thing to remember is that puppies are puppies. They are new to this world. New to puppy leashes, new to the constraints of a leash, new to their collar and harness. They are very excitable and full of zest and energy. Loads of energy (read puppy zoomies)! They are also sharks in a puppy suit. They love to put anything and everything in their mouths. Puppies are playful and seem to have fun playing with whatever fits into their mouths, including their leashes.
Given these puppy characteristics, it’s no surprise that your cute little puppy bites his leash. But don’t worry! I have some puppy training tips for you to help you teach him that his leash is not a chew toy.
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Leash Training a Puppy not to Bite his Leash
Stop: As soon as your puppy bites his leash, stop walking. Stand very still and hold your puppy’s leash close to your body to prevent a good game of tug-of-war from starting. As soon as your puppy stops biting and tugging on his leash, start to walk again. Repeat this throughout your walk.
You will be teaching your puppy not to chew his leash by showing him that when he bites his leash, you stop the walk and stop the tugging by holding the leash close. When his teeth are not on his leash, he is allowed to walk.
It works. It really is that simple, if you are consistent in the rule. A few things can help jump-start how to train a puppy not to bite on a leash.
- Reward your puppy often for the littlest steps and attention from the get-go. Take a peek at teaching your dog to walk on a leash for tips.
- Teach your puppy to hold an appropriate toy in his mouth while walking.
- Practice your puppy’s leash skills inside the house daily for fewer distractions and more success.
Things to consider
- Chew Proof Dog Leash? Sorry, there is no such thing if the leash is made of fabric or leather. I’m not an advocate for any kind of chain dog leash because they’re heavy, your dog’s fur can get snagged on it, and the chain can get hot. I do, however, recommend leash companies such as Lupine Pet that will replace their leashes even when chewed! Buy two, so you have a back-up when you ship the chewed one back to the company.
- Chew Deterrents: Sure, you can give this a try, depending on the actual ingredients in the product. Remember, you should read the ingredient panel on any product you use. Do they work? In my experience, not really well, but if the ingredients are safe, then it may be worth a try. You would need to apply before each walk. For a puppy, I wouldn’t suggest this.
- Choke Chain Option: What? I know, I would never use a choke chain on a dog’s neck, never, ever. However, if you have an adult dog with a long history of chewing their leash, you can attach a very thin choke chain to the end of the leash by the clasp. Slide the leash through the ring, and sew the chain to the leash on the bottom and top. Then, when your puppy goes to chew the bottom of the leash, he bites the chain and it may deter him. This is never my first choice, since, again, the chain can get hot and heavy. Your puppy may also hurt his teeth biting on the chain, and the weight of the chain on the leash might keep your puppy from understanding what a loose leash feels like on his neck.
- Review your dog’s leash daily to ensure the leash is not getting frayed or compromised. Your dog’s safety is at stake.
Now, get out there and walk your puppy! It’s one of the best things in life.
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